Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Fane Edge (?–1803)

by Vivienne Parsons

This article was published:

Fane Edge (d.1803), provost-marshal, enlisted in the New South Wales Corps on 6 March 1790 and embarked in April. He was appointed town adjutant by Governor Arthur Phillip in February 1792, to draw him 'out of the line of sergeants'. He received no allowance for this position. When appointed by Phillip as provost-marshal of Norfolk Island in March 1792, he took charge of a group of convicts in the Pitt. His wife Sarah accompanied him, and they arrived at Norfolk Island on 23 April 1792. Edge's appointment was not confirmed in London before 1798, and although he drew bills on the expectation of a salary he does not appear to have received one until that year.

When Rev. James Bain left Norfolk Island in March 1794, Edge, at the request of Lieutenant-Governor Philip Gidley King, accepted such of the chaplain's duties as he felt authorized to undertake, even attending to the sick during the epidemic of dysentery. He applied to Governor John Hunter for an allowance for these clerical duties, and Hunter applied to the secretary of state, but no allowance was recorded. In January 1794 King raised a militia out of the marine settlers and sailors of the wrecked Sirius, and placed Charles Grimes and Edge in command until proper regulations could be arranged in accordance with those of the English militia.

Edge had been given a plot of land to cultivate when he arrived on Norfolk Island, and in 1795 he received a grant of the ground called the Hermitage. Early in 1801 he applied for leave to return to England on private business, asking for a free passage for himself and his family and to be extricated from debt. Governor King refused a free passage, although he was quite agreeable that Edge should resign his post. Apparently he did not depart, for in March 1802 he was suspended by Lieutenant-Governor Joseph Foveaux for repeated disgraceful transactions which rendered him unfit for public office. He died soon afterwards, and was buried on Norfolk Island on 22 January 1803. His daughter Sarah married Francis Cox in Hobart in 1809.

Select Bibliography

  • Historical Records of New South Wales, vol 3
  • Historical Records of Australia, series 1, vols 1-3
  • manuscript catalogue under Fane Edge (State Library of New South Wales).

Citation details

Vivienne Parsons, 'Edge, Fane (?–1803)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1966, accessed online 21 April 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 1, (Melbourne University Press), 1966

View the front pages for Volume 1

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


21 January, 1803
Norfolk Island, Australia

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